Raymond Loewy was the father of modern industrial design. His early work included designs for everything from mimeograph machines and refrigerators to locomotives. He created advertising logos for Lucky Strike and bottles and cans for Coca-Cola. In the automotive world, he did work for Hupmobile and Studebaker. He's best known for the design of Studebaker cars, including Studebaker Champion, Commander
, President Speedster and the iconic Avanti
. Our subject is a less well known Loewy effort: Ferrari briefly teamed up with Loewy Design in 1954 to produce a study for the Ferrari Europa.
By 1954, Loewy was a major enterprise, with presence in Paris, London and New York. His automotive design group was located in South Bend, Indiana, where most of their effort was directed to Studebaker. For the Ferrari exercise, the principal designer was John Cuccio, working with Orval Selders under the overall direction of Mr. Loewy. The one-off body was to be built by Boano. Loewy was looking for an unbroken line flowing from the hood to the back, along the lines of Virgil Exner's "dart" theme
. As a result, he body line was developed before the trim. The pointy nose gave the designers problems in locating the headlights, and in designing the grille and bumpers. Three or four different grille designs were tried before settling on the final version. The grille chrome was smoked to tone down the "waterfall" effect. A 1/4 scale clay model was built in South Bend, and sent to Boano in Italy for construction of the actual body.
The project was begun with some secrecy, but the news soon reached Pinnifarina, and they voiced their complaints to Enzo Ferrari. Ferrari felt it was better to part ways with Loewy rather than spoil the relationship with his favorite carrozzeria. Left with a half completed design, Loewy decided to proceed with it as an in-house design exercise.
Loewy acquired a Jaguar XK140 (car 814096), which had almost the same wheelbase and track as the Ferrari. The car was stripped to the chassis, and the Boano body was fitted to it. Adjustments had to be made to accommodate the slightly shorter wheelbase and taller XK motor (thus the hood bulge). The result wasn't entirely satisfactory.
The car was shown at the Paris salon in October 1955. It was shown without the bumpers, as the designers were still struggling with them. It doesn't seem to have attracted much notice.
Loewy had a residence in Paris, and used the car there following the show, before bringing it home to New York in 1956. In 1957, he was persuaded to sell the car to Archie Moore, then the light heavyweight champ. The price was reported to be $25,000, which was a lot of persuasion back then.